Abu Dhabi: More than 20,000 residents laced up their sneakers on Friday at the Abu Dhabi Corniche to participate in the 19th edition of the Terry Fox Run, which raised Dh387,000 for cancer research.

The event, which included an eight-kilometre marathon and Zumba lessons, also celebrated the completion of four ongoing research projects at the UAE University.

“We are now screening about 37 projects, and will be awarding funds to the selected initiatives by next year’s run,” Nafisa Taha, chair of the Abu Dhabi Terry Fox Run organising committee, told Gulf News ahead of the start of the marathon.

The now-worldwide runs began when Canadian humanitarian Terry Fox, whose right leg had been amputated due to bone cancer, decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research and alleviate the sufferings of others.

Starting in 1980, Fox persisted for 143 days, and only stopped because the cancer had spread to his lungs. He died in 1981 at the age of 22, but his initiative led to the development of the Terry Fox Foundation and a series of runs across the world.

The marathon in the capital began at about 10 am, after an opening ceremony attended by his Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and Shaikh Sultan Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President.